The University of California has withdrawn its Education Abroad Program students in Israel due to the increasing violence and recent attacks in the Middle East.
The decision, announced Tuesday, will affect eight UCSB students and 21 other UC students enrolled in programs in Israel. UC will provide students with safe transportation to the United States as well as academic options for independent study for the remainder of the year.
The University has suspended its upcoming programs in Israel and will re-evaluate the security of the state at a later date.
“We have a network of contacts and informational sources that we keep in contact with throughout the year. They keep tabs on the students and of the current situation in Israel,” EAP Campus Director Scott Cooper said.
In a University of California press release, UC officials stressed the University of California will not abandon its Israel programs; it will leave in place its infrastructure and staff, including its program directors, to prepare for the eventual return of UC students.
“In the past we felt our students were safe and they could carry out their studies,” Cooper said. “Because of recent events this is no longer the case, so we’ve suspended the program until conditions change.”
The UC system has taken similar actions in other countries where political instability threatens student safety. In the past, UC has temporarily postponed EAP activities in China following the Tiananmen Square massacre, in the Middle East during the Gulf War, and in Indonesia during civil uprisings.
Other universities, including the University of Washington and University of Colorado, have already recalled their students from Israel.
Although the date of the program’s reinstatement is uncertain, students may choose to stay in Israel.
“Some won’t be returning to the U.S. even though EAP will not be having a program yet,” EAP Coordinator Susan Berg Arnold said. “It will be their personal decision to come back.”